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N827GM accident description

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Tail numberN827GM
Accident dateNovember 13, 2008
Aircraft typeCirrus Design Corp SR22
LocationTallahassee, FL
Near 30.398611 N, -84.3025 W
Additional details: None

NTSB description

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On November 13, 2008, at 1914 eastern standard time, a Cirrus SR22, N827GM, was substantially damaged when it impacted automobiles and terrain in Tallahassee, Florida. The certificated private pilot and the passenger were fatally injured. In addition, one person on the ground was seriously injured, while two others incurred minor injuries. Night instrument meteorological conditions prevailed. The airplane was operating on an instrument flight rules flight plan, and departed Port Columbus International Airport (CMH), Columbus, Ohio, at 1429, destined for Tallahassee Regional Airport (TLH), Tallahassee, Florida. The personal flight was being conducted under 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.

A review of voice transmissions revealed that as he was approaching Tallahassee, the pilot advised the controller that he had the current weather, and requested the ILS (instrument landing system) runway 27 approach. The approach controller provided vectors for the approach, cleared the pilot for the approach, and advised him to switch to the Tallahassee Tower radio frequency, which the pilot acknowledged.

The inbound course for the ILS runway 27 approach was 272 degrees magnetic. The glide slope angle was 3 degrees, and the decision altitude was 200 feet above the ground, or 253 feet above mean sea level (msl). Runway elevation was 48 feet msl.

After the pilot contacted Tallahassee Tower, the controller cleared him to land, and reported the winds from 170 degrees at 6 knots. About 1 minute, 20 seconds later, the controller advised the pilot that he was right of course, and to fly heading 240 to rejoin the localizer. The pilot did not initially respond, and the controller repeated the instruction, after which, the pilot acknowledged.

About 20 seconds later, the controller twice told the pilot to turn left to heading 240, once also stating that the pilot was heading north-westbound, which the pilot acknowledged.

About 1 minute after that, the controller again directed the pilot to turn left to 240, and advised him that he was still right of course. The pilot did not initially respond, but when the controller repeated the airplane's call sign, the pilot stated, "seven golf mike's gotta go…"

There were no further transmissions from the pilot.

A hand held GPS (global positioning system) unit that was recovered from the airplane was downloaded at the Safety Board. When the positions were plotted over the inbound course, they revealed that the airplane initially joined the localizer, before veering off to the right about 5 nautical miles (nm) from the airport. The airplane then flew a serpentine pattern for the next 2 miles, finally turning south before the GPS stopped recording.

The last recorded position was almost directly above the accident site, and indicated that the airplane was 30 feet above the ground. The previous recorded position, 5 seconds earlier, was about .07 miles to the north, and indicated the airplane was 260 feet above the ground.

The lowest recorded radar contact occurred when the airplane was about 300 feet above the ground.

According to a witness standing in front of a house, the airplane came from across the street, hit what he thought was a telephone pole, then impacted two cars, one of which was parked behind the other, that were in his driveway. Another witness, also standing in front of the house, stated that she first saw a red light in the sky, and as it came closer, she recognized that the airplane was initially flying straight. The airplane then "came down flipping in circles," including two 360-degree turns, and hit the cars, one of which then ran over her.

PILOT INFORMATION

The pilot, age 64, held a private pilot certificate with airplane single engine land and instrument airplane ratings. According to the pilot's logbook, prior to the accident flight, he had recorded 721 hours of total flight time, 17 hours in make and model, 56 hours of night time, 76 hours of actual instrument time, and 64 hours of simulated instrument time. The logbook also indicated that the pilot acquired the airplane on October 8, 2008. The pilot's latest FAA third class medical certificate was issued on May 21, 2008.

AIRPLANE INFORMATION

The airplane was manufactured in 2002, and was powered by a Lycoming IO-550-series engine. According to maintenance records, the latest annual inspection was completed on October 7, 2008, at 482.9 hours since new and 25.6 hours before the accident.

The airplane was not equipped with a primary flight display, but was equipped with a multi-function display that had been updated to record information. The airplane was not equipped with airbags.

The airplane was also equipped with a Cirrus Airplane Parachute System (CAPS), which included a solid-propellant rocket used to deploy a 2,400-square-foot round canopy. A composite box containing the parachute and solid-propellant rocket was mounted to the airplane structure immediately aft of the baggage compartment bulkhead. The box was covered and protected from the elements by a thin composite cover.

According to the SR22 pilot operating manual, "CAPS is normally initiated by pulling the CAPS Activation T-handle installed in the cabin ceiling on the airplane centerline just above the pilot’s right shoulder. A placarded cover, held in place with hook and loop fasteners, covers the T-handle and prevents tampering with the control. The cover is be removed by pulling the black tab at the forward edge of the cover. Pulling the activation T-handle will activate the rocket and initiate the CAPS deployment sequence.

A maintenance safety pin is provided to ensure that the activation handle is not pulled during maintenance. However, there may be some circumstances where an operator may wish to safety the CAPS system….The pin is inserted through the handle retainer and barrel locking the handle in the “safe” position. A 'Remove Before Flight' streamer is attached to the pin."

METEROLOGICAL INFORMATION

Weather, recorded the airport at 1853, included winds from 150 degrees true at 6 knots, visibility 10 statute miles, a broken cloud layer at 400 feet, and overcast cloud layer at 1,500 feet, temperature 23 degrees Celsius (C) , dew point 22 degrees C, and an altimeter setting of 29.92 inches Hg.

According to U.S. Naval Observatory data, sunset occurred at 1741, and the end of civil twilight occurred at 1806.

WRECKAGE INFORMATION

The accident site was mostly contained in the front yard of a home. Transmission lines in front of the home were cut a frayed. Two automobiles that had been parked in the driveway were damaged, and displaced off to the left side. The automobile that had been nearest the street had its engine compartment crushed downwards and outwards on the right side. The airplane was located further to the left of the automobiles, upside down.

The engine was separated from the airplane, and located further to the left, and beyond the main wreckage. The right wing was fragmented and separated from the fuselage, and the empennage was partially separated from fuselage, right-side up, with part of the tail sticking into a window of the house.

All flight control surfaces were accounted-for at the scene. Control continuity was established from the cockpit to the left aileron, the rudder and the elevator. The right aileron was separated, with cable ends exhibiting separation consistent with overload.

The three-bladed propeller was separated from the hub, and the portion of the hub still attached to the engine exhibited radial cracking. All three propeller blades exhibited s-bending. Two of the blades exhibited significant leading edge damage, and some chordwise scratching. The spinner exhibited spiral crushing.

An estimated 5 gallons of fuel flowed out of the left wing fuel tank during wreckage recovery.

No mechanical anomalies were noted with the engine. Crankshaft continuity was confirmed, cylinders were borescoped, spark plugs were examined and magnetos were sparked.

The CAPS was not deployed, and the rocket was disarmed at the accident site. The maintenance safety pin was found still inserted through the handle retainer, with the "Remove Before Flight" streamer attached. When removed and examined, the pin did not exhibit any deformation or witness marks.

MFD information was downloaded at the Safety Board; however, the last 63 seconds of the flight were not recorded.

(c) 2009-2011 Lee C. Baker. For informational purposes only.